Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holy Moly

Moly is a carmel colored Pygmy wether. He looks just like a little buckskin pony. He has these wonderful wattles that hang under his ears instead of his throat. They look just like earrings on a very boyish goat. He has a friendly disposition and follows you everywhere.
Moly, the second half of Holy Moly has seen a lot in his life. He has seen the demise of his better half, Holy. He has witnessed the departure of his dear sainted mother. He was plucked out of the only home he knew, lured by saltine crackers, and was set down amongst a very unwelcoming group. He has endured head butts, shameless hussies, and always living on the outskirts of the herd. Now, if that wasn't enough, he has been given the job of babysitting a noisy, needy, baby boy. He didn't want a job this late in life. He tried very hard not to be good at it. But I saw you, Moly. I saw when you walked casually past so Ruckus would see where you were. I saw you get in front of the big goats so they wouldn't get near Ruckus and I saw you come running when the baby let out a wail. So like it or not you are getting attached and it's about time because baby thinks you hung the moon!

Thursday, November 22, 2007


While trying to find my blog at my brother's house I came across this website. It is the same magazine I used to read as a kid. It is a great journal on all parts of small farming. I felt like I had found a long lost friend. The website is great too. Countryside in cyberspace.
I let my mom and sister-in-law read my blog. They laughed in all the right places and seemed to enjoy the stories. Then they had a few of their own about my animals. They also showed me some editing mistakes. My mom said "If you ever want to be published you need to watch out for those."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Raising a Ruckus

His name is Ruckus and apparently he has been raising one while I'm at work. I hear this from a friend of a neighbor. She says he cries all day. I just don't know where to put him where he is safe from the seemingly fatal head butts. He wants to be with the big goats so bad. So today I just put him in with Moly. A few head butts later Ruckus was following Moly around the pasture. Sort of like "Everywhere that Mary went"......kind of stuff. Moly tried to talk him out of following him by turning sharply around and rearing in the air and pretending to butt. But little Ruck stood his ground and Moly gave up. I want them to bond so Moly can keep Ruckus company and it looks like it is going to work. It has gotten cold here in Washington the last few nights and I have been going out about 10 pm to make sure the little guy is warm. The kitties think this is great fun and run around wild like we are having a party. Ruckus is always warm. A friend once told me that goats want a sleeping buddy to sleep with at night. Poor Ruckus doesn't have one and I feel bad for him. I am very sentimental. I had also heard that Christmas Eve is the night the animals talk so ever since I was a kid everyone has a clean stall and plenty of hay that night. Just in case.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Yes, that collar makes you look fat

As you can see by my pictures we have a little too much good food going around here. If I am going to breed the does this spring I am going to have to do some serious rationing. This summer I finally got 2 complete acres fenced for the goats to enjoy and enjoy they did! Huckleberry, elderberry, salal, and grass too. Who ever said goats aren't grazers have never met my goats. This is the first year we haven't had a horse in the pasture and the grass has grown in thick and lush. Fancy, my son's 22 year old pony lost her battle with reoccurring colic about his time last year and I have vowed after having horses all my life to not own another horse until I can call the vet in the middle of the night and not think about how much it would cost me. We had her since she was 3 and it was so hard to see her go. So no more horses.......unless......I have, someday, grandkids nearby.
So all goats are on a diet. I will harden my heart and not look at their pleading eyes. I know they need to lose lots of weight before spring and if I could haul my treadmill out there they'd be on it.
So wish me luck, or them luck.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mrs. Robinson

Yesterday baby buck got to meet the herd. We got home pretty late so he slept in a huge dog crate and had no idea there were other goats around. He is so tiny I have to keep him safe from the pushy, bossy gang of goats.
First lets talk about Semi Sweet my chocolate and white Nigerian doe. She has not kidded in a few years and it hasn't been much of a problem until this year. She is dying for a husband. She doesn't care who she shows affection too. No one is safe when she gets in the mood. Lately, to his dismay, it has been Moly (as in Holy Moly). Moly is an 8 year old Pygmy wether that we took in from a friend when his companion died and he needed a goat herd, fast. He has never really fit in though and lives on the outskirts of the herd. But, to him, it's better than nothing. In the last week though Semi Sweet is trying her best to rape him. He is so confused as she chases him all around the pasture making her best love noises. So I am anxious for Baby buck to grow up and take care of this problem.
I took Baby buck out of the crate and let all the goats get a good sniff. Everyone took a good sniff and went on their merry way. You see there were more important things to apples. Everyone except Semi Sweet. She took one sniff and her eyes popped out of her head. She stuck out her tongue, said UUUUUUUH and about knocked me and baby buck over. Then she would not leave him alone. I put him in the pen with Moly, who by the way was very kind to him. But Mrs. Robinson was all over that pen trying to get in. Poor Baby buck just wanted a mother figure and you know what Semi Sweet was looking for!
I think Moly has finally found a friend and a job, chaperoning.

The buck stopped here

I got the dreaded phone call. The call that says we see "something" on your mammogram and need you to come back in and have another. I worried and awfulized. My husband worried and awfulized. He envisioned himself feeding all these animals and having to actually cook. You see, everyone around me is getting breast cancer and I just figured I was next. In my mind I put everything on hold. I didn't need to take on a buck at this time because, in my mind, I could be dead before he grew up. I wasn't afraid of dying........I'm afraid of chemo. If I am sick who would take care of all these critters. My hubby likes the animals and will feed for me but they are my thing not his. When it comes to worming, hoof trimming and shots...............let's just say they would have to be missing a leg and walking around on the bloody stump before he would notice.
So I subjected myself once again to the dreaded squeeze machine and waited nervously in the waiting room for my fate. They found nothing. I can live another year. Provided I am not killed by an angry pig getting it's hooves trimmed.
So what does any self respecting goat girl do? Buys a goat! We went right from the Dr. office to pick up the cutest little Nigerian buck you will ever lay eyes on. I had forgotten how tiny they are at 8 weeks.
In all the years (which is a lot) I have had goats I have never owned my own buck. They were just the smelly disgusting creatures the goat lady had in the back of her property. They usually had the worst pen on the place. I remember as a kid taking my doe to a buck housed in an old greenhouse, sans glass of course. I am now a true bonofide "goat lady."
I am positive this little guy will grow up to be just as smelly and disgusting as the rest but for now he has a cute dandelion fluff head and clean sweet little body.
Now he needs a name. Any suggestion?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Bring on the pigs................

My husband has always wanted a pig. Ever since I met him at 16 he has wanted a pig. All through our young married life he has been tempted to stop at the sign along the road that advertised weaner pigs (or is it weiner?) I have been successful in talking him out of it until now. Now mind you, there is no eating of the animals on our small farm. If you land here, you stay here for life. I have nothing against anyone that chooses to raise and butcher. I have even enjoyed the fruits of their labor. I just can't eat anything I raised. I learned this lesson at age 15 when Gabriel (the name I called him)/Soupbone(the name my dad gave him) was put on the table before me. So I figured we didn't need a pig. My husband was sure he needed a pig so we decided to find a pot bellied pig for our glorified petting farm. It wasn't that easy. Pot bellied pigs were all the rage about 20 years ago but now are not that easy to find. They have fallen out of favor because people have discovered they are " PIGS." I did my research. I went online and read about them. Websites showed tiny pigs cuddling with their owners and I thought "How cute, I can do that". So my husband had the brilliant idea of going on Craigslist to look. I am ashamed to say I am now addicted to Craigslist. Anyway, it wasn't too long before someone posted two pig sisters Daphne and Fiona. They were socialized, spayed(that's important) and friendly so off we went to see them. A darling young couple met us at the gate with their beautiful babies in tow and we went to go see the pigs. Daphne and Fiona were just what we wanted. The little toddler was even in the pen with them. My husband was in love, especially with Fiona because he loves Shrek and she has a cute white mohawk. We loaded them in their custom made traveling crate and brought them home to the farm.
That was the end of our peaceable kingdom.
The llama, Koo, hated them. He made noises I had never heard him make before in the 4 years we have had him. The goats hated them. It was hate all around. It went from everyone grazing calmly around the pasture to everyone running and crashing through bushes trying to get away from the pigs. They weren't even housed with the other animals but just the thought of pigs sent all into a frenzy. To make matters worse, I was scared of them. Me, also known as Dr. Dolittle to my friends, was just a bit afraid of them. I then realized the only time I had been around pigs was when my best friend and I had hung out in the pig barn at the fair because the best looking boys showed pigs. That was the only contact I had with them and I wasn't paying much attention to the pigs.
Daphne and Fiona challenged me and snapped at me when I tried to pet them. They demanded food so I fed them. They were definitely pigs. They didn't challenge my husband, well really they did he just didn't notice. It does no good challenging anyone if they don't even notice. I, being the animal person, noticed everything they threw at me. So I complained to my hubby that I didn't really like the pigs and he replied "Well I do" Hmmm.....being the problemsolver that I am I got online and asked advice. I am not sure what anyone did before the computer. I poored out my problem to perfect strangers and the answers came flying back. My pigs were going through puberty! So it seems that around 18 months pigs will naturally start challenging you. They also were mourning the loss of their family and first home. The advice was give them time. Pigs are amazingly smart and clean, I have come to realize. I sat down by their pen and had a talk with them about us coexsisting together and I swear they understood. Little by little things have gotten much better. The llama has stopped making the weird noise. The goats have stopped crashing through bushes and the pigs will let me give them a good scratch. They come when called and will sit on command. We have learned how to trim their feet. Not an easy task as there is nothing to hang on to on an angry pig but we are do-it-yourselfers and won't pay anyone if we can do it ourselves. It wasn't pretty. Let's just say the neighbor came over to see what was killing the pig.
Once again it is my peaceable kingdom and all I have to say is....................bring on the buck.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I have been inspired to start blogging. Yes me, a forty something, computer novice is entering cyberspace. I have enjoyed reading "This Goats Life", "Marigold" and "A Journey in your Dreams" and have been inspired to write my own. I am in no way as good a writer as these bloggers but feel a need to write my experiences down "Beyond the Sidewalks." I chose this name in honor of a magazine I used to read, as a kid, called Countryside, A small stock Journal and Life beyond the Sidewalks. What teenager do you know reads homesteading magazines? Well I did. I grew up in a very normal suburban family that lived on 2 acres. I was the only one in my family that loved animals and farming. I have always been the Goat Girl to anyone that knew me and to this day give animal advice out freely. Goat and Dog 4H were my favorite pastimes. At age 11, I was watching Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Greenjeans came to visit with two darling Saanen kids. I fell in love with those adorable snowy white babies. I ran in to my mom begging to get a baby goat. My mom, being the supportive mom she is, got busy and found two Alpine/Nubian cross doelings. One for me and one for my best friend. She also found a good 4H club to join so we could learn about our new babies. My friend's dad dubbed us "The Goat Girls" as we ran around the neighborhood followed by Sweet Pea and Star. Happy times raising goats and traveling to fairs and shows followed. I also trained dogs and showed them.
I am now grown and have pretty much raised goats and trained dogs my whole life. My son wanted to join 4H so I started my own club and repeated the experience for him although he preferred the dogs and his pony. He is now grown and in college in L.A. but continues to have a little dog that has more frequent flyer miles than I do.
We currently have a small herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats, one Pygmy wether, two pot bellied pigs, a llama, 5 dogs, 2 cats and a few hens. My favorite thing to do, other than reading, is sitting in a lawn chair with all my critters milling around me.
So with this blog, I will share my experiences with "Life beyond the Sidewalks"